Being online is crucial today, no matter your business area. Nevertheless, this is not intuitive for many companies. Therefore, the temptation is to go the easy way: social networks. This is a very reasonable approach. It allows for quick, simple, and autonomous visibility. Updates are easily shared, specific details such as opening hours and days can appear, etc.
Nevertheless, the recent events taking place in the United States along with the suspension of the former president’s Twitter account exposed social media’s ability to control the accounts they host. In such circumstances, entrusting your entire online presence to private companies can end up being a mistake. How to proceed and on which platform should you host your content? Let’s have a look at some background information.
Think needs before thinking media
While it is often tempting to be easily and quickly found online, it does not always work out well afterward. Indeed, it is first and foremost a question of setting the basis of your digital strategy. In other words: why do you want to be present online? Do you want to offer dedicated services such as online appointment scheduling, or sale items, or even communicate about your company’s services? Once you have taken this first step, you will be able to make a well-informed choice about the best solution to meet your needs.
There are many ways to be on the web: website, blog, portfolio, social media, professional networks, etc. And of course, each of these solutions requires a particular type of communication, a specific tone. We do not communicate the same way on an institutional site and on social media. The purpose here is not to favor one at the expense of the other, but to build a coherent network.
In other words, each of the media on which you will be present will aim to lead your internet users to your chosen media in order to reach your objectives.
In this example, the objective for this restaurant owner is to achieve maximum takeaway sales. To do so, the sales are carried out on the restaurant’s website. However, the best way to share the latest news on the weekly menus and opening hours are undeniable via social media. But, each post will link directly to the ordering site to complete the reservations. In this way, the restaurant owner gains visibility, develops a community, and fulfills his marketing objective.
Increasing your self-sufficiency
Clearly, the foundations of your digital strategy will be based on your own media. Why is that? Because they give you more flexibility and your own visibility. This is called “owned media”, in other words, visibility gained by the company through its own media. On the other hand, “paid media” refers to purchased visibility. That is to say, as long as you continue to pay you maintain your visibility. Finally, “earned media” are those acquired by the company thanks to its influence potential.
To sum up, a digital platform of your own will allow you to have long-term visibility. In addition to increasing your search engine rankings, you will also be able to analyze your visitors’ behavior and optimize your online presence if necessary. For example, if you don’t make enough sales even though you have a lot of traffic on your site, you might want to find out where you are “losing” those potential customers. Is it on the product pages? The conversion funnel? By analyzing and interpreting this data, you will always have ways to achieve your goals. Here is an article detailing tools to analyze your site’s performance.
Social media, an indispensable relay
Of course, we are not here to denigrate the role of social media. Which are such a big part of a brand’s communications. Moreover, they represent free, reactive, and effective visibility. No one can deny, for example, the change that these networks have brought about in the relationship between brands and consumers. They increase a feeling of proximity and therefore (for successful strategies) a strong potential for customer loyalty.
Unfortunately, these social networks are increasingly aware of their influences. This hegemony was obvious during the recent suspension of the former US President’s account. Without raising the question of the appropriateness of this sanction, it remains that these media are run by private organizations. Which are themselves regulated by their own rules. Therefore, they have total control over accounts and pages hosted on their platforms. A risk that can have serious consequences if, in the future, company pages become chargeable, or subject to increased controls or restrictions.
The final word
It is clear that building your online identity will not be done in a day. Forget about the technical aspect, and focus on your objectives. Find out how this online presence should benefit your company and adapt your media accordingly. This way, the time spent developing and improving your presence will never be in vain.
Think globally too! An effective strategy must be able to be spread over complementary media. So website, blog, social networks, portfolio? Why choose?